This lovely goldy-yellow rose is Crepuscule, a noisette.  It grew quickly in the two years after I planted it and I trained it up the wall and over my front door.  I had always wanted this - a yellow rose (yellow being my favorite color) arched over my red front door.  It was so pretty.  And it happened so fast.

And then the rose died.  The whole thing.  Just like that.  One day I noticed a branch seemed to be drying up and within a week the entire shrub - all 15 or 20 feet of it - was dead.  I never figured out what killed it.

Things change and sometimes the change happens quickly and without warning.  Life can turn on a dime, for better or for worse.  It's unsettling and in the case of "for worse" we can spend a lot of time going back over and over everything, trying to understand what happened.  Wondering if there was something we could have done differently.  Regret and guilt and self-flagellation.  We don't do that so much when the change is "for better."

Sometimes I struggle with figuring out when it's better to just let go of something and move on and when I need to look inside myself to see where my own culpability or complicity lies.  One can so easily slide off into self-recrimination when really all one wants to do is take responsibility for one's own faults and/or to learn from one's mistakes.  It's important to learn from our mistakes - or we are doomed to drag our issues around with us into the next thing and the next if we don't acknowledge them, own up to them, and perhaps exorcise them.  But it's also true that sometimes one just needs to let things go and move on.  Either because our own part in what went wrong is going to have to come upon us slowly and over time or because we really didn't have much if any culpability.  Sometimes stuff happens and we're there when it happens but it's not got anything to do with us.  Sometimes we just need to move on.  Figuring that out is hard.

The other side of that coin is the refusal to take responsibility for our actions, much less learn from our mistakes.  And as I said, we just make the same mistakes again until we wake up to our own part.  As they say, "denial is not just a river in Egypt."

Either way, reflection goes on and on.  It doesn't happen, nor is it over, quickly.  Nor should it be.  But reflection is a whole 'nother animal from denial or self-recrimination.  It's how we make sense of things and how we gain wisdom.

Meanwhile, it's been three years since my rose mysteriously died.  I think I'm finished mourning.  Perhaps I ought to plant another.


Jody said…
What a lovely post. Thank you so much. I love what we can cull from beautiful things around us - in this case a gorgeous rose - by paying attention.

Perpetua said…
You make some very important and wise points there, Penny, especially about learning to let go and move on. In my ministry I've seen so many people whose lives have been blighted by not being able to let go of their mistakes or of what happened that hurt them but wasn't primarily their fault. One Person close to me sadly runs the risk of damaging a wonderful second marriage, because she cannot stop going back over the events of the first bad one. So sad....
Thanks, Jody. You can grow noisettes there in Texas, you know.

Perpetua, I've both seen it and been it. I hope I have learned that reflection, rather than denial or self-recrimination, is the way to wisdom.

Thanks both of you for stopping by and leaving a comment!
Ray Barnes said…
I won't comment on the blog except to say it covers many points very well, but as I had already discussed this on "The Vernacular Curate's" blog I won't say my bit again.
As for the poor lovely rose, whatever killed it may have been in the soil. If that si the case, when you plant another you should totally replace the existing soil with fresh. Good luck.
Thanks, Ray. I hadn't thought of that!